The Startup Lawyer Re-Design Project
If you haven’t already seen, The Startup Lawyer blog has been re-designed. My vision for this blog is one that I can’t implement on my own. I had pushed the limit of my coding skills, so I opted to move the ball forward with a formal redesign project in September.
Here’s the breakdown of how it all went down:
I first met Dave Onkels, one of the co-founders of Magntize, via a meetup with a mutual startup-world friend/client/colleague at the Southlake Town Square Starbucks. I felt left out because I was the only one at the table without his macbook pro. I felt ridiculous because I was the only one in a suit. (I wear suits 1-2 days a month but am working on further reductions in 2010.)
Thankfully Dave didn’t hold the suit against me and agreed to meet up and discuss my blog redesign project in mid-September. My only guidance was that the blog needed to be “clean and contemporary” and that I wanted to pay close attention to typography. Dave took that concept and ran with it, serving up several wireframe concepts until we settled in on a workable layout. From there he proceeded to develop and refine the WordPress template until everything began to fit into place. We probably went through 3 major iterations of the site design all said and done but the finishing point left us both quite satisfied.
One of the more notable features of this site is the top navigation bar which helps unify and contain all of my personal and business content across the web. This is one of Dave’s ‘trademark’ features as he’s implemented something quite similar for his own website.
In addition to the re-design, Dave helped me migrate the blog to a different server and optimized my WordPress installation to help speed up the site. Apparently, The Startup Lawyer was sharing a server with 1,000,000 other websites on GoDaddy and this was bringing page load speeds to 2400-baud modem status.
About half-way through the re-design we set a target re-launch date of November 18th, 2 days before the start of Startup Weekend Dallas. Dave was on schedule, but Magntize got a sweet Mashable write-up the morning of November 16th. I pretty much figured that would push back the finish date on my blog, so I called Dave up and said not to worry about missing the deadline because he had a pretty good excuse. (Magntize has received over 30k visitors since the Mashable write-up.)
After making the finishing touches on the overall layout and design, the last piece for the re-design project was the logo. I think it was interesting we went design first–logo last. I know I have spent too many times holding up various design projects trying to find that “perfect” logo.
Dave and I met up in early December to figure out the logo and I happened to be wearing a new Nike track jacket that day (proof that I don’t wear suits 24/7) and Dave suggested we roll with a modified version of it. We went through several combinations and ended up with a logo I feel works well with the overall design. I also like that the logo connotes movement.
The immediate results have been pretty good. I did a re-design about a year ago that received very unflattering reviews. So this has gone much better. I’ve received a lot of compliments about the design via email, twitter, phone, blog comments, and in person high-fives. As for analytics, my pageviews/user is up over 25% since the re-design. If you have any suggestions and features you might like out of this blog, feel free to contact me.
I’d like to think this blog is still in public beta. I have only begun the startup law glossary (I have about 250 definitions to go). And I have another blog project tentatively named “Operation Cru Jones” that is going to require coders.
I know that working with designers can be painful for clients. And I also know that working with clients can be painful for designers. If you are looking for a designer, I can without-a-doubt recommend Dave Onkels. You can contact him here.
I hope this new site design suits you well. Thanks for reading this blog.